March 8 marks International Women’s Day, and this year’s theme is “break the bias.” The International Women’s Day website asks us all to “imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women's equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.” As we take time out of our day to honor the women who have inspired, led, and held the world together this past year,
celebrating International Women’s Day is also an opportunity to make a difference.
Whether it be volunteering in your community or reaching out to a woman you admire, there are many ways to honor International Women’s Day, which was was created in 1909 as a way to activate and campaign for equality, according to the official
International Women’s Day website. The commemoration quickly grew across the world, first in Denmark the next year, followed by Austria, Germany and Switzerland. By 1975 International Women's Day was celebrated for the first time by the United Nations; decades later, you can get ready to celebrate this year on Tuesday, March 8.
girl power vibes can be felt the world over as nations pause to acknowledge the unique power, performance, and perseverance of women in countries across the globe. But as far as we’ve come, ask any woman and she’ll tell you we still have a long way to go. From campaigning for equal wages to fighting for proper healthcare, ensuring voting rights to enforcing transparency in the #metoo age, the challenges women face continue to be a global battle. But there are ways you can help. Here are a few. 1 Join a board.
So many women’s organizations need fresh members to help move their missions forward. Whether it’s a local women-focused charity or a cycling advocacy group that needs more women members, as the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn't be that women are the exception."
2 Use the official hashtag. FilippoBacci/E+/Getty Images
Don't let the cynics tell you that social media doesn't make a difference. Get on your Instagram, your Facebook, or your Twitter, and let's see those #EachforEqual posts. Whether it's an endorsement of a women-led organization or company, a shout-out to the most inspiring woman you know, or a snapshot of your day at an IWD event, posting and using the hashtag can motivate others to get involved, too. This is one kind of social media peer pressure that is beneficial for everyone!
3 Speak up. Bloomberg/Bloomberg/Getty Images
"In my experience, being bold for change means having the courage to stand up and speak up — not just for yourself, but for others. This enables confident, empowered individuals and teams," Carla Christofferson, Executive VP of AECOM, wrote on the official IWD website.
"It’s up to each and every one of us to ensure all voices are heard and that all people are given equal representation and respect."
Your voice is the most valuable thing you have, and March 8 is the perfect day to use it. Honor your experiences, your goals, your hopes, and your thoughts about International Women's Day, and inspire others to do the same.
4 Make introductions.
You might be surprised how much power you carry and how you can help another women move forward in her career simply by getting a little networking help. So go ahead and make the introduction by introducing a young woman to another powerful mover and shaker. Or write a letter of recommendation and advocate for another woman.
5 Read with your children.
Understanding the women’s equality movement is a powerful tool when called to defend it. So take some time on International Women’s Day to read up on its history. And be sure to look beyond the lens of your own experience by looking at the struggles of women in other areas of the world.
For the littles, there are tons of feminist and women’s empowerment books for kids, such as
children’s biographies about great women, feminist picture books, and by Rosemary McCarney, Jen Albaugh, and Plan International. Because I Am A Girl: I Can Change The World,
For your own celebration, research great women authors for adults to check out — be sure to pick up books from BIPOC or LGBTQIA+ authors on this day and every day as well.
7 Give a compliment to an overlooked woman.
Have a colleague who is doing big things but rarely gets praised for it? Notice someone going the extra mile with little fanfare? Be the person to shine the spotlight on these individuals either with a private note or vote of confidence.
8 Create an IWD playlist.
You know what will psych you up to celebrate IWD? Some songs that scream “I am woman hear me roar.” So pull up Spotify and put together a list of your most empowering tunes.
9 Learn something new.
Do you or your daughter want to learn photography? Check out a photography class. Rock climbing? I bet there are a ton of those classes available, too. I personally feel empowered when I learn something new, and I bet other women in your life will, too. Take the family to a cooking class, crafting class, woodworking class, metal working class, painting class, a nature class, or whatever you can think of that may be a fun learning experience for the entire family.
10 Honor our elders.
None of us would be here without the work of the women who came before us. So take some time to reach out to your elders on IWD. Even if these women never identified as feminists or fought on the frontlines, many, through the act of living, made a difference and we should honor their work regardless.
11 Teach your children about International Women's Day. miodrag ignjatovic/E+/Getty Images
Educate the next generation of feminists and activists by
getting them involved in IWD activities. Explain to your kids why the day is celebrated, and how important it is for women and men to be treated equally. Read about remarkable women, watch an inspiring girl power movie, or volunteer together. 12 Donate.
Do something today to support the struggling, marginalized women in your community. If you are financially able, give a monetary donation to a women's shelter or another nonprofit helping local women. Round up clothes you don't wear anymore or toys your children no longer play with, and drop them off at a shelter. Call or stop in and inquire about volunteer opportunities. Find a way to offer support to the women in your community who need it most.
Check out local nonprofits and organizations near you that would be in need of your time, or items such as clothing, toys, school supplies and hygiene items. A great place to start is the
United Way website. Additionally, you can donate to other organizations on the Plan International website that will ensure women will have a safe place to rest and the ability to go to school and learn. Have your children pick out items to donate and go with you.
Other organizations you should check out include
National Organization for Women, The Malala Fund, Planned Parenthood, Girls Who Code, She Should Run, WriteGirl, Care.org's Women Empowerment Fund, and Global Rights for Women, among many others. 13 Support a woman-owned business. Women own 31% of small businesses or franchises in the U.S., and 17% of Black women are in the process of starting or running a new business, according to whattobecome.com. Use this day as a chance to support your favorite woman-owned or woman-run businesses. Round up your friends or family and go eat dinner at a woman-owned restaurant, or splurge on a new outfit at your favorite boutique. Endorse these businesses for free by writing great reviews or simply giving them a social media shoutout. 14 Attend a local IWD event.
What better way to celebrate the day and spread the message than by gathering with women and allies at an organized event? The official International Women's Day website has a
tool to search IWD events in your area, from "global gatherings, conferences, awards, exhibitions, festivals, fun runs, corporate events, concert performances, speaking events, online digital gatherings and more." 15 Support a girlfriend's project or endeavor.
There are motivated, inspiring, and go-getting women all around us. Whether you've got a friend writing a blog or a coworker raising money for a cause she's passionate about, you've got a chance to offer your support and encouragement. You can help by donating, sharing the project online, or simply reaching out with kind words, and International Women's Day is a wonderful time to do it.
16 Accomplish or work toward a goal.
If you're brimming with girl power and feminist pride, channel that toward a goal of your own. Use this day to remind yourself that you are capable, powerful, and worthy, and there is nothing stopping you from reaching that dream you've been pushing aside. It's easy to brush off your own goals and focus on others, but today is a day to be selfish.
17 Invest in the next generation of women.
One of the most powerful, impactful things you can do is to empower the next generation of women. Write
a letter to your daughter about all the ways she makes you proud, gift your niece with an inspiring new book, or use the holiday as motivation to sign up for Big Sisters, Girls on the Run, or another mentorship program. No matter how big or small, your actions can have profound effects on young girls. 18 Watch movies or TV clips of inspiring women or strong female leads.
For the kiddos, check out
Doc McStuffins, Dora the Explorer, or Elinor Wonders Why, and maybe work your way up to documentaries about famous women trailblazers for the older kids. Check out commonsensemedia.com for a list of TV shows and movies that inspire girl power that are age appropriate for your kiddos. 19 Strike the IWD #BreakTheBias Pose
Take a photo of you crossing your arms and post it on social media with the hashtags #BreakTheBias and #IWD2022, and share. The International Women’s Day website notes, “Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. Knowing that bias exists isn’t enough, action is needed to level the playing field.” One way to actively call out gender bias is showing your support with this pose and post. And then of course actively doing the work in public.
20 Thank a woman (or women!) who inspires you.
International Women's Day is the perfect time to show your gratitude toward a woman who inspires you. Send your mom or grandma a bouquet and thank them for everything they've taught you. Surprise your best friend with a thoughtful letter. Reach out to a female leader in your community and thank them for their work. It may be a small gesture for you, but it will be incredibly meaningful for them.
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This article was originally published on
Feb. 21, 2019